Imatges de pÓgina
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girl. They declared politely that they never ness with which he had Aung himself
could think of influencing their daughter's down. His face was buried in the grass,
affections. As if I wanted them to do so!, and he was sobbing; and May could not
I asked for nothing but that she should move to go away and leave him, for the
make

up
her mind.”

reason that he was lying upon her muslin May began to share in the poor lady's skirt. She tried to draw it away without dismay.

disturbing him, but this was impossible. “So then I should have left this place He started at the movement and looked up. in anger,” said Mrs. Lee,“ only for fear of Oh, Mr. Lee, I am so sorry!” said making a quarrel, and destroying any hope May; "I could not help being here !" that might be left. If the lady would He looked at her angrily for a moment, marry my son I should be thankful, though, with a burning blush on his perturbed face. indeed, I do not like her. My poor boy Then he laughed uncomfortably, and begged loves her, and at all events his fortune her pardon. would be secured. But if she turns him “I see I have spoiled your dress,” he away now at the last moment, when he said, “but, of course, I did not do it intenfinds himself ruined and disappointed, he tionally. Of course, if I had seen you I will fall into a despair which she with her should not have come here." light ways could scarcely even dream of. It was very unlucky,” said May, "at And things are no better to-day than they least if you mind it. But my dress has were weeks ago.”

got no harm." This conversation went on for some time “Mind it?" he said. “Of course I mind longer, and during the course of it much that you should have caught me lamentof the heaviness and unsightliness of Mrs. ing like a woman. But I trust myself Lee's outlines became softened away, and to your charity; and believe me I have was never after visible to May's pitying reason for grief. At least I think I have,” eyes. These two new friends parted at last he added slowly, passing his hand over with an understanding that May should- his face. “I may be foolishly wrong, and if opportunity offered, make interest for if so I will come and tell you, some day Christopher, and plead his cause with soon, of my happiness. I dare not deKatherine. And after Mrs. Lee had gone scribe to you what that happiness wonld away, May lay a long time still awake, be like. But I think that I have reason wondering over the iniquity that had just for grief.” been made known to her. She found it in “I hope with all my heart that you are the end too monstrous to be believed in. wrong,” said May,

and that you may get Before she went to sleep she had per- your happiness. If you don'tsnaded herself that Katherine must come Well, if I don't ?” forth, triumphant in honesty, from under “I was going to say something which the cloud of this suspicion which was at I had better not say, said May. "You present hanging over her.

would perhaps think me impertinent and interfering

“Perhaps I should,” said Christopher, It was not long before May had an op- reflecting, “and that would be unfair. I portunity of learning Katherine's senti. will not ask you to say another word. ments towards Christopher, as well as Good morning, Miss Mourne ; I am going towards some other people and things. a little further down the stream to fish."

One morning she was entertaining her. And so he walked off, forgetting that, in self after her own fashion, alone, in the order to fish, it is necessary to have a rod, dingle beyond the rustic bridge over the or some other apparatus for the purpose. stream. She was sitting in the shelter of a But May was a gentle critic, and would large oak, stringing the ripe rowan-berries not have laughed at him for the world. into a long scarlet chain. So occupied she After that May dropped her brilliant heard a rapid step, and a muttering voice chain from the bridge, and watched it float. coming over the little bridge, a crunching ing down the stream. Then she turned in the underwood close by, and then some away, and walked up the hilly garden one fell prone upon the moss at the foot of towards the castle. Katherine was leaning her tree; the other side of the tree at which over the balcony, alone. She had been she was sitting. This was Christopher looking down towards the dingle and could Lee, in deep distress. He had broken the see a long way. May mounted the balcony stately, fan-shaped ferns by the reckless- and approached her, seeing that, as sbe

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CHAPTER XVII. KATHERINE SPEAKS HER MIND.

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drew near, Katherine looked expectant, and gently, "you don't know what you are ready for conversation. This was unusual, saying. Lovers will not be shaken off so but it was what May desired. She was too easily. I speak from much experience. much disturbed by the mistakes of her while you-you have never had a lover,

neighbours to be at peace with her own have you ?” said she, looking at May, | thoughts. She was full of indignation keenly.

against somebody. Who that somebody “No, indeed !” said May, hastily, and might be it behoved her to find out, that blushing a vivid blush, that wandered she might not in the zeal of her fancy from her cheeks to her forehead, creeping make a martyr of the innocent.

up even among the little rings of her Stay here a little," said Katherine, win- hair. She felt vexed with herself for blushningly, as May hesitated, not knowing ing, for she knew of no reason why the whether to pass her or remain unbidden at question should annoy her. And there her side. And May seated herself on the was Katherine looking on with amused edge of the balcony, leaning back against curiosity. an urn full of geraniums ; folded her hands “How red you turn !" said Katherine, | in her lap, and expected to be catechised. who had never blushed, save with anger,

“You have been walking with Mr. Lee?" in her life. “But you need not be ashamed. · said Katherine, not rudely, but with the It is no reproach at all, living out of the

air of one who considered she had a right to world as you do.”
ask questions. “Where have you left him ?” “I am not ashamed,” said May, and I

“He said he would go further ap the do not wish for a lover. But I think I can river to fish,” said May, demurely. understand how a man ought to be treated

“Oh!" Katherine looked surprised and by a woman whom he loves—for whom he a little disappointed. She had perhaps ex- is willing to give up everything in the pected some pitiful tale of her lover's des-world.” peration.

“Do you indeed ? So you have studied “You were walking with him some the matter. Come, now, tell me all about time?” she asked again, after a minute, it," said Katherine, looking delighted. during which she had been eyeing May, “He ought not to be encouraged, and who sat with her dark head against the then left to break his heart," said May, geraniums, her eyes half shut, gazing with another subtle quiver of excitement drowsily down through the sunshine to dyeing her cheeks. “Even if the river, the way by which Christopher “Even if what?" asked Katherine.

“Miss Archbold, I am afraid I shall * Not walking,” said May; "sitting and make you very angry. standing."

“No such thing,” said Katherine ; “ I am “Oh!" said Katherine, impatiently," and accustomed to hear dirges about broken talking, of course. He was complaining hearts. You are not such an original person 1 to you of me all the time ?"

as you think. And your enthusiasm about “ No,” said May, mischievously, “ we lovers' rights is exceedingly amusing. Go never even mentioned your name.

on with that speech which you were afraid “ I am glad to hear it, I am sure,” said would overwhelm me." Katherine, with a mortified smile. “But I “I was going to say your conduct would had thought it might be otherwise, know- be cruel to Mr. Lee, even if his fortune as ing his habit. He is a dreadfully low- well as his happiness were not so entirely spirited young man.

I am tired to death at your mercy. of him.. I wish they would go away."

So you have picked out that story “ Then why do you not tell him so, and already,' said Katherine, looking right I send him away at once ?” asked May, well pleased.

rousing up so suddenly, and speaking with “I picked out nothing," said May, in-
such energy that she quite startled Kathe- dignantly.
rine. You know-you know it is you who "Well, let that be. We cannot help the
keep him here.”

truth getting about. But, my simple May trembled while she spoke, believing maiden, how am I to blame if people will that Katherine would think her interference make a mess of their family arrangements ? quite outrageous. But Katherine's un- If a man chooses to lose a fortune for my easiness all vanished at the attack. Her sake, how am I to prevent his being so face kindled with smiles.

silly? If I had been his mother I should “My dear little girl," she said, indul. I have brought him up better. The world

I had gone.

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will talk about it, and will call me a pression, and we had some hours of charmmonster. But they ought rather to cry out ing conversation. Mamma gave him our on him for a fool. As for encouragement, cards, and he came to us in London. There how am I to judge of a lover unless I have is no doubt that we shall see him here soon. proper time? People ought to be capable He belongs to this country, and his history of taking care of their own affairs. If a is quite interesting. He has been some years person sees a risk, why not turn upon his abroad, and is coming to visit his inheritheel and go another way ? Now if a man ance for the first time. He was reserved were to show spirit, and prove manfully about himself, but we heard all his story rebellious-

from a friend of his father's. Mamma does "Well," asked May, “ what would hap- not quite approve of him, for the old man

may live a long time, and is not very reWhy then I should think him worth a putable. Still, he must die. And the little pains. I have no mercy on a fool.”' nephew will be quite a millionaire.”

“ Poor Mr. Lee!” said May. “And have Who is this gentleman?” asked May, all

your lovers been fools, Miss Archbold ?” suddenly. '“What is his name?” All," said Katherine,

or at least I

“ Did I not mention ? I thought yon have found it easy to make them fools for knew. He is Paul Finiston, handsome and the time.” Katherine had warmed won- proud, and they say he is a poet. One derfully with her subject as she went on. could see it in his eyes that night on board It was evidently one upon which she loved the ship. He had a way of folding his to discourse. “There is just one person, arms and seeming to forget everything and she continued, “whom I have thought everybody, himself as well as the rest. worth an effort; for whose sake I could This was, of course, when the danger was acknowledge that my heart is not made over, and there was nothing more to be of flint. While such a one lives," here her done. It piqued my vanity at first, but I lip curled, “I have no pity for such soon saw that though a gentleman, indeed, simpletons as Christopher Lee!”

it was evident that he had not been accus“ Have you told Mr. Lee of the existence tomed to the ways of polite society. It is of this person ?” asked May, gravely, after little things like this that made me say he some rueful reflections upon Christopher's might be inclined to be rebellious. But hard fate.

dear me, Miss Mourne, how white you are Katherine laughed gaily. “You amusing grown!” little goody!" she said, blithely, "do you Am I?” said May,

never mind. Tell think that I also am a fool ? I have been me something more about Paul Finiston." frank enough with you, but you don't sup- “Do you know him ?” asked Katherine, pose it is my habit to carry my heart

upon

sharply.

“I cannot say that," said May, “ for I “Was this person rebellious ?” asked | left my Paul Finiston in Dublin a great May, rushing into another question to avoid many years ago. I have no acquaintance the opportunity of declaring what she with your admirer, Miss Archbold.” thought about Miss Archbold, and her “ Your Paul Finiston ?" said Katherine, habitual line of conduct.

with a sudden elevation of her handsome "Not quite,” said Katherine, with an air chin. of mystery; “but he looked as if he could "Forgive me if I speak awkwardly,"

·

" be. You will see him, I have no doubt, said May; “I mean the Paul Finiston with by-and-bye.” Here the young lady sud- whom I had some acquaintance. denly became thoroughly confidential. This was said with dignity, and Kathe“ The first time we met was on board ship, rine was at a loss how titly to express her when we were returning from our travels, displeasure. But fitly or unfitly, her sense quite a short time ago. We were coming of May's audacity must be made known to from Calais to Dover, and there was a the offender. storm, and people were frightened. Every- “And with whom you hope to renew body behaved like a fool, including mamma your acquaintance," she said, bluntly, and and papa, who were both ill. He took with a look and a tone that made May care of us all, and, as I had fully expected, again turn pale. he made himself

my

devoted attendant. Do not speak to me like that,” said the Towards the end of the passage the wind young girl quickly. “I shall be glad if you fell, and all the stars came out. Nothing will talk upon some other subject.” could be more favourable to a romantic im- “But I will not drop the subject," said

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Katherine, stormily, her eyes beginning to to have been of a prodigious character. burn and her face to grow dark. “I will | He could hold between his teeth, and in not quit it till we understand each other such wise lift from the ground, a table perfectly. You have drawn from me a upon which had been stationed four or confidence.”

five of his children. Lying upon his back, "Pardon !" said May. “You volun- he could with his hands and feet supteered it."

port a platform upon which stood no less “I repeat that you drew it from me,” than eighteen grenadiers fully armed said Katherine, “with your sentimental and in marching order. From the first looks and your sympathetic speeches about Hercules downwards, a peculiar mythical lovers. Now I may as well go further. halo has, no doubt, always attended and And I warn you not to meddle between me enhanced the proceedings of the strong. and Paul Finiston!”

But these exploits, and such as these, are “I?” exclaimed May, springing to her stated to have been duly accomplished by feet and standing a little off from Kathe- Peter in the ring of Astley's Amphitheatre rine, straight and quivering as a very shaft during the early seasons of that establishof fire.

ment. “Yes, you,” said Katherine. “You have For the “strong man " had journeyed to thought of him as a lover. I saw it in your London. Within a week of his arrival, in face when I first mentioned his name. the year 1793, there was born to him a son,

“ It is false,” said May, in a low thrilling who was christened Andrew. It was aftervoice. “How dare you accuse me? You, wards deemed appropriate enough that who know nothing of me!”

little Andrew Ducrow should have first But Katherine was not softened by the drawn breath at the Nag's Head Inn, sight of May's honest indignation as she Sonthwark. stood panting before her, her eyes like dark The child was educated perhaps much flames, her cheeks redder than the reddest as strong men's ” children usually are. roses round about.

Great regard was paid to his muscles; his “Your enthusiastic modesty is very mind was left to take care of itself. It is the pretty," sneered Katherine. "But I am acrobat's creed that reading and writing not deceived by it. I see that you- come by nature; but that the feats of the

But here May suddenly put her fingers circle can only result from severe training, in her ears with a childish impulse of At three years old Andrew was set to learn passionate impatience. Katherine stood his father's trade. From standing firmly speechless at finding herself treated with with his feet in a straight line, heel to heel. such utter disrespect. And before she could he proceeded to vaulting, tumbling, dancing find words to express her sense of the in- on the slack and tight rope-with, by way dignity, May had turned away and fled of relief and recreation, balancing, riding, throngh the window into her room. fencing, and boxing. At the age of seven

" But I will not be treated so !” cried he, was sufficiently accomplished to take Katherine at the window. “Come out, Miss part in a fête given at Frogmore, in the Mourne, for I have not done speaking to presence of George the Third. In the you. Or else I shall go in

course of the performance, much to the But in the twinkling of an eye the win- alarm of the spectators, the stage gave dow was locked inside, the shutters closed way, and the little fellow fell through. and barred. And May, having thus ended The king, much concerned at the accident, the battle, sat down upon the floor in the was charmed by the fortitude with which dark, and had a hearty cry.

the young performer bore his bruises, and the simplicity with which he denied that

he had been at all hurt. ANDREW DUCROW.

“What any man has done or can do, I'll

do,” old Ducrow was wont to say, “but In the later half of the last century there my boy shall do what no one else can or was born at Bruges a certain Peter Von dare do.” He referred, of course, to the feats Ducrow, who, arrived at manhood, earned of his profession. He was the severest of for himself the title of the Flemish Her- disciplinarians, and regarded failure as a cales. He was by profession and by natural matter quite within the control of the perendowment a “strong man: gaining his former. He was himself without fear, and living by public exhibition of his physical he declined to recognise the existence of gifts. His performances certainly seem such a feeling. “In ninety-nine cases out

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His success

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of a hundred,” he would say, “I can't' the chief towns of France. simply means 'I won't.' ” Diligent ap- was something unprecedented. A tempting plication of the horsewhip he had invari. offer to share the receipts of the night, ably found to be a most complete cure for after an allowance of three hundred francs timidity. Young Ducrow went through his for expenses, brought him to Franconi's performances with an understanding that circus, at Paris. The surpassing merits of any mistake that he might make, or any the English horseman were speedily recog. accident that might happen, would be nised, and he secured unbounded popupromptly followed by bodily chastisement larity. His style was pronounced original

, of a most merciless kind. At Edinburgh, his daring unequalled. He was the first when a mere child, he fell from his rope to introduce into the ring an equestrian and dislocated his wrist; he continued to pageant or entrée, and his performances dance, however, carrying his balancing- upon six “bare-backed steeds”-as in his pole in one hand. He fell again and famous scene, the Courier of St. Peterssprained his ankle; but he went through burg-had not previously been attempted. the remainder of his performances on one "Animated, light, and graceful,” wrote leg. From the strictness of his early train- enthusiastically a Parisian critic, “the ! ing he acquired the coolness and courage English horseman seduces and enchants us which so distinguished his after-career; by his elegant agility: He absolutely sports and certainly his preceptor set him a good with the rules of statics, and gravity has no example in the way of hardihood. A critic central point for him. Sometimes like an wrote of Peter Ducrow's daring: “He aërial being you would suppose him ready would have danced on a rope stretched to take an easy flight. Sometimes stooping across the crater of Vesuvius during an over the arena he remains suspended in eruption, or have ridden round the ridge space, a prodigy of equilibrium. His rapid of Ararat in a whirlwind !"

courser is the pedestal on which he erects In 1808. young Ducrow was chief eques- every form and assumes every attitude: the trian and rope-dancer at Astley's, enjoying Mercury of Phidias, ready to take wing; a salary of ten pounds per week. Five the Gladiator of admirable proportions; the years later, the Ducrows seceded to the lover of Flora with Cupid in his arms or rival establishment, the Royal Circus, in disporting in a garland of flowers." St. George's Fields. Here a stage had Another critic took up the theme: “To been erected, and dramatic entertainments these prodigies of agility and address is were presented. It was in the part of united a grace which constitutes their Florio the dumb boy, in the Dog of Mon- highest merit in the eyes of all who entertargis, that Andrew first won applause as a tain a proper sense of the genuine principles pantomimist. Misfortunes, however, came of art, and who know that in feats of dex. thickly upon the Royal Circus, bankruptcy terity, and even of strength, the chief merit afflicted the proprietors, the license was does not lie in the surmounting of difficulty. forfeited, and the doors of the theatre were But what exalts the exercises of M. Ducrow closed. Andrew returned to Astley's for to the honourable rank of the imitative art, a season, and introduced that serious acting are the scenes, I might almost say the upon horseback for which he afterwards dramas, which he performs in mute lan. became so famous. Already his classical guage. The truth, the animation, all, in scene of the Gladiator was an admired per- short, which comprehends the beauty of formance. His bold riding, personal graces, pantomime, are rendered still more and mastery of the language of gestures, tonishing by being exhibited, as it were, were attracting great attention.

in the air, and in the midst of that rapid About this time Peter Ducrow died, motion which hurries along both the courser leaving his widow and family to the charge and his guide. Here, indeed, the difficulty of Andrew. Astley's was then under the overcome renders the perfection of talent management of one Davis, whose son was still more admirable. And M. Ducrow has a leading performer in the ring. Andrew unfolded a new talent. Having shown finding the rivalry of the manager's son himself the most skilful equestrian we have somewhat inconvenient, resolved upon a ever seen, a charming dancer and excellent continental tour. Accompanied by his bro mimic, he has now appeared as a worthy thers and sisters, and taking with him his rival of Madame Sacqui, Revel, Forioso, famous trick-horse Jack, he joined Blondell's Cabanel, and all the boldest funambulists Cirque Olympique, and made his first ap- we ever beheld.” pearance in Ghent. Subsequently he visited At this time, it may be observed, the

as

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